Home » Round of 16 against Leipzig: Real Madrid in the Champions League – royal future

Round of 16 against Leipzig: Real Madrid in the Champions League – royal future

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Round of 16 against Leipzig: Real Madrid in the Champions League – royal future

As of: March 5, 2024 11:41 a.m

Luka Modric has to rethink: A change has taken place at Real Madrid, it is the work of coach Carlo Ancelotti. This is not a good sign for the competition.

A few months ago, when Luka Modric’s role at Real Madrid had already changed a little, he gave a long interview to the newspaper “Sportske Novosti”. “It’s certainly a new situation for me, not playing as much as I used to and as much as I would like,” said Modric: “I always want to play, I don’t want to take breaks, I don’t want to go on vacation.”

Modric, 38, has been playing for Real Madrid since 2012, since then he has played 518 competitive games and won the Champions League five times. He actually always played. His passes were extremely precise and his understanding of the game was impressive. Together with Toni Kroos, 34, Modric was the brains of a team that was considered perhaps the best in Europe.

That’s how it went for many years, and not much has changed this season: Real are still one of the best teams on the continent. There are many indications that Madrid will be champions of La Liga this season. In the Champions League they will host RB Leipzig in the second leg of the round of 16 on Wednesday (March 6, 2024, from 8:50 p.m. in the live ticker and in the audio live stream). The “Royals” were lucky to win the first leg 1-0. But you rarely see games like this from Real.

Sports show Champions League Live, March 6th, 2024 8:35 p.m

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Recently, Modric often just sat on the bench

Almost every attack continues to run through Kroos, and coach Carlo Ancelotti doesn’t want to do without him. Only for Modric a lot has changed. Ancelotti has sometimes been without him recently, at least in the starting eleven.

In the Primera Division this was the case against FC Barcelona in the autumn and also against Atletico Madrid and FC Girona in February. And Modric was not used at all in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 in Leipzig. That had only happened to him once in all his years in Madrid, in a game in the knockout round of the Champions League.

It seems as if Modric has to come to terms with the fact that his role in Madrid is now different. Most recently, after scoring the winning goal as a substitute in La Liga against Sevilla FC, Ancelotti also spoke about Modric. “He shows that it is very difficult to leave him on the bench,” said Ancelotti: “He shows that not only with today’s goal, but also with how he trains every day, what a role model he is for everyone Team is. It’s most difficult to leave such players on the bench.”

Then came the game against FC Valencia at the weekend – and Ancelotti had earmarked a place on the bench for Modric.

Ramos, Casemiro, Benzema – all no longer in Madrid

The fact that Modric, who was actually always in the starting line-up, now often just sits on the bench certainly has something to do with his age. Even for someone like him, the years don’t go by unnoticed. But it also has to do with a personnel change that coach Ancelotti has initiated. He did this with sensitivity and foresight, but without drama.

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Ancelotti has been coach in Madrid again since the summer of 2021, and since then the club has given up players such as Sergio Ramos, Raphaël Varane, Marcelo, Casemiro, Eden Hazard and Karim Benzema. They were all faces of a team that set standards in the Champions League. As replacements, Real brought in experienced players such as David Alaba and Antonio Rüdiger as well as the highly talented Eduardo Camavinga, Aurélien Tchouaméni and, most recently, Jude Bellingham.

Ancelotti invented a new position for Bellingham

Camavinga, 24, Tchouaméni, 21, and Bellingham, 20, are still young footballers, but they are already shaping football in Madrid. Camavinga sometimes plays left-back, but his dynamism makes him hard to replace in midfield. Tchouaméni is the defensive-minded player in the “six” that Thomas Tuchel missed so much in Munich.

Bellingham was also known from Dortmund as a footballer who could play as a “six” or an “eight”. Ancelotti invented a new role for him. In the tactical formation, Bellingham is usually placed on the “ten”, from where he moves to the side when the center is tight. And he swings into attack when he senses space there. He has already shown some skill at this: Bellingham has scored 20 goals in 30 competitive games this season.

Tactically, this usually results in a 4-3-1-2, with the two Brazilian national players Vinicius Junior, 23, and Rodrygo, 23, swirling up front. They are fast and good on the ball, they can score goals but also score goals. They are footballers from whom we can still expect a lot. The future of Real Madrid could be a royal one.

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